How long have I been practicing /drawn to yoga: I have been practicing yoga for over a decade, but I have consistently practiced Bikram Yoga for nearly six years. I found an old journal from 2005 with some goals I wanted to complete, at that time I wasn’t even practicing yoga, interested, but had no experience. I wrote that I wanted to be a yoga teacher and now it’s 2017 and I have been teaching Bikram Yoga for four years and I have recently started a Yoga Therapy business (certified Yoga Therapist from Ghosh’s Yoga College in India). In addition, I teach Yoga Nidra. Yoga has transformed my perspective on how I live and love daily; it is a way of life, not just a physical practice. My biggest hope is for others to experience the same healing magic it has provided me.
Has yoga helped me with anything medically or otherwise: I didn’t start practicing yoga because I had any physical injuries; I had a screw loose brain! I experienced intense anxiety for most of my 20’s, I can be impulsive, lived with the attention span of a squirrel and I am a recovering people pleaser. I can honestly say since practicing yoga, I am able to manage my anxiety which I am very rarely faced with now. My impulsiveness has morphed into being spontaneous with healthier choices and I don’t rely on others to validate my worth, oh and my attention span / concentration has improved exponentially! Over the years with my consistency and commitment to my practice I have learned that yoga goes well beyond what I initially believed I had showed up to the studio for. I also know that I will never be done learning and evolving.
Why would you suggest yoga as medicine to a friend / stranger: I am a big believer in using what we have to get to where we want to be or how we want to feel. Having a consistent yoga practice can transform your life so you can live without chronic pain, you can manage stress more effectively, live with more energy, experience childlike resiliency and you can be more focused and attentive to the relationships and passions that really matter in your life. It can compliment conventional medicine, even if it is simple pranayama and meditation–science is starting to prove more and more what yogis figured out long ago.
What keeps me coming back to my mat: I know that I will always feel good no matter what is happening around me. It helps me maintain my strength, physically and mentally. I know that I can handle anything that comes my way with grace, confidence and know that it happens for my highest good. I would not teach yoga if I did not wholeheartedly believe in it; I want to live by example, not by words.
Favorite thing about my yoga practice: The old me would say the renewed feeling I get when it is over, but I’ve gained a new perspective in class where I am learning to enjoy the process of it, not just focusing on the end result. My intention is that this seeps over into my daily life as well – more enjoyment in the daily’s and more process driven as opposed to fully result driven. I also love experiencing how I have more endurance and strength which compliments all my other activities as well – such as running and hiking.
Advice for anyone wanting to explore yoga: Yoga doesn’t care if you are old, inflexible, can’t sit with your legs crossed, have knee injuries, overweight, have one arm, screw loose brain, have multiple injuries or if you are male or female, etc. just show up and the rest will take care of itself; be patient, consistent and compassionate with yourself.
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